(This is one if those rare wholly positive posts. You heard it here first, folks!)
After launching the Greenlight page I knew I could expect some great feedback and ideas from the folks who pledged at Kickstarter. (Everything from survival to crafting has been adjusted based on Greenlight input, and they haven't even played the game yet! Who knows what will happen during beta testing?)
What I didn't expect was the wild diversity of professions and perspectives. It could just be an illusion caused by the format but the Greenlight camp always felt like a pretty narrow demographic. In contrast the game's Kickstarter backers have been all over the map, literally & figuratively.
Since launching the campaign I've been in touch with not just dozens of artists and musicians and writers but also geologists, linguists, historians and architects, all eager to help me shape the world into something that lives up to their own unique expectations.
Not that I ever could - to please them *all* the game would basically have to be a fantasy-themed Matrix. But I'm finding their input to be beneficial in unexpected ways.
For example: a geologist had a great deal to say about the shapes of the world's land masses, and based on his advice the world's realism factor will be bumped up a tad.
Now I can tell I'd have to work for years to make the world geologically consistent (and genuinely realistic landscapes trend to produce boring gameplay anyway) so I can only take this advice so far. But then he casually rattled off what kinds of natural minerals each region would have in abundance due to the formations & climates I had chosen for them.
Over the past few days I've used this information to upgrade the game world's economy. It already feels richer and more legitimate. I'll be honest, apart from the obvious stuff like diamonds and salt I hadn't given minerals etc much thought. But after just an hour of plugging in numbers everything from the motivations of major characters to the histories of entire regions has been improved. By minerals!
And this is just one example - there have been dozens of similar cases.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised - the backers have already invested money in this project hoping they'll enjoy it - what's a few more minutes to write out an email if it boosts the quality that much more?
All the same I can't help feeling like I've won some bizarre lottery every time an amazing new suggestion lands in my inbox. It takes a bit of the pressure off knowing that when I have a down day it two and can't shake an idea out of the old noodle, my backers have my back.